How many do you employ?

You may be liable for other contractors' employees

Editor's note: Although it is Professional Roofing's policy to provide location information for companies mentioned in articles, some locations are missing from this article because information about the companies in question could not be found.

If one of your employees is injured while working, workers' compensation insurance is the usual means by which the injured employee would be compensated. Workers' compensation is a form of mandatory, no-fault insurance. As long as the employee was injured during the course of his or her employment, he or she is assured of obtaining workers' compensation benefits without the need to prove there was negligence by you even if the injury was the fault of the injured employee or other parties.

Workers' compensation represents a quid pro quo: The employee is entitled to workers' compensation benefits to compensate for injuries and lost wages without having to establish negligence by you, and your liability is limited to payment of workers' compensation insurance benefits. In return for the employee's assurance of receiving compensation when there is an accident without demonstrating any fault, the employee is precluded from seeking additional compensation from you. In return for you providing workers' compensation insurance, you gain immunity from a tort liability claim from the employee unless there is evidence you intentionally caused the injury.

But what happens if you do not have workers' compensation insurance? And what if an injured employee, dissatisfied with the amount of workers' compensation recovery, believes a general contractor, upstream subcontractor or building owner is at fault for the accident? Can the injured employee, after receiving workers' compensation benefits, sue other parties?